OTAs often get a bad rap, dismissed by some hoteliers as mere third-party “room peddlers.” However, the influence of OTAs has grown exponentially and hoteliers would be wise to realize that their value goes far beyond filling excess room inventory. A recent whitepaper on the influence of OTAs by PhoCusWright led SkyTouch Technology (cloud hotel system provider) to extract some of the top reasons why hotels should recognize that OTAs are so much more than a distribution channel:

OTAs can be used by hotels to optimize their revenue. When utilized effectively as part of a hotel’s integrated marketing and distribution approach, OTAs can help hotels attract guests, drive bookings, and maximize profitability.

OTAs are capturing the majority of mobile device bookings, especially last-minute bookings. OTAs have proven themselves to be a one-stop-shop resource for consumers to research, shop, and book from their mobile devices. Alike a distribution channel, OTAs are steadily capturing the growing segment of “spontaneous” travelers — data shows that 72% of OTA mobile web bookings are made within 24 hours of the stay!

OTAs are outranking search engines. While there’s no denying the popularity of search engines like Orbitz and Kayak, OTAs are steadily gaining more prominence in search results as consumers are increasingly using them to compare rates, reviews and make their key travel research and decisions.

OTAs offer suppliers unprecedented reach around the globe. OTAs feature the ability to engage business and leisure customers globally through all the stages of the travel experience – with whatever devices their customers choose to use. Their 24/7 accessibility and multi-lingual display also helps OTAs attract a global following.

OTAs are multi-functional. Beyond the distribution channel, OTAs function as marketing engines, search engines, booking engines and execution platforms. They are, in essence, a hybrid tool hoteliers can utilize to reach new customers, capture their preferences, and secure more bookings.

As hotels prep their marketing and distribution strategies for the coming year, they should acknowledge that OTAs can be a valuable ally. Beyond simply booking excess rooms, hotels can utilize the influence of OTAs to help propel their business forward.

SkyTouch Technology’s Hotel OS (cloud hotel system) now has integrated with SynXis CRS to help hotels of all sizes with their hotel management needs. Book a demo today!